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Floor outlets are electrical outlets that are installed into a floor area rather than into a wall. Often, a floor outlet will be equipped with a metal plate to protect the outlet and wiring, along with a cover that prevents dust and other material from collecting in the outlet when the device is not in use. Outlets of this type are usually found in dens and living rooms of homes, as well as in conference rooms or other larger gathering areas in offices and public buildings.
As with any type of outlet, the floor outlet is intended to allow easy access to electrical current. Because the plug can be placed at any point along the floor, it is possible to strategically position several outlets within a space, creating easy access to electricity even when a power source is needed somewhere other than along a wall. When not in use, covers snap or slide into place in order to protect the outlets and also to allow the floor to retain a smooth surface.
Beneath the surface of the floor, the configuration of the floor outlet is similar to that of a standard wall outlet. The plugs are housed in an outlet box and normally connected to a central junction box that helps regulate electric power flow. Wiring runs from the outlet box to the central junction in the same manner that electrical wiring runs through walls to a central power source.
While it is possible to use plastic or porcelain plates with a floor outlet, the general recommendation is to utilize metal plates. Durable metal is much less likely to be damaged if the outlet is stepped on when not in use. The metal covers can hold up well to a lot of weight, which will help to keep the general appearance of the outlet simple and clean. When necessary, the metal plates can be outfitted with covers that are spring loaded to snap closed when the outlets are not in use.
In terms of function and appearance, a floor outlet can be helpful in many situations. In a conference room, an outlet in the floor under the conference table makes it much easier to plug in audio visual equipment without running extension cords to a wall outlet. In the home, the presence of a floor outlet in the living room aids in arranging the furnishings, since major seating areas do not have to remain near a wall in order to include the presence of accent lamps in the grouping.
Installing a floor outlet is very similar to the installation of a wall outlet. As with any type of electrical wiring project, it is recommended that the installation only be conducted by a properly certified electrician.